- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It is every parent’s worst nightmare — an intruder in their baby’s bedroom.

But for Harris County, Texas couple Marc and Lauren Gilbert, the horror came with a twist: The intruder had hacked their wireless baby monitor, and watched and spoke to her as the 2-year-old slept in her crib.

“It felt like somebody broke into our house,” Mr. Gilbert told KTRK-TV in Houston after he and his wife heard a man’s voice in their baby’s bedroom.

Experts say their ordeal underlines an important fact: anything connected to the Internet can be hacked, especially if security measures, like passwords, are not enabled.

After the couple rushed into the bedroom, they realized the voice was coming from the speakers of their baby monitor — and its camera was moving.

“Wake up, Allyson, you little [expletive],” said the voice, which then began cursing the parents, Mr. Gilbert said, until he unplugged the monitor.

After researching the issue, Mr. Gilbert told KTRK he believes the hacker — who spoke with an English or European accent — had penetrated the couple’s wireless Internet router and gained control of the monitor’s remote control and speech functions.

He said that Allyson was born deaf and her cochlear implants were switched off that night.

“She didn’t hear any of it and she slept right through it,” Mr. Gilbert said.

Parents can protect their homes by using an encrypted wireless connection like Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) and setting a strong password, Dave Chronister of tech firm Parameter Security told CBS.

WPA2 connections are available as an option on wireless routers, but users have to enable it and set a special password, rather than using the factory-setting default.